After returning from the Christian Reformed Church prayer summit last April, Rev. Stanley Jim was so on fire for prayer that he decided to gather local church leaders in Classis Red Mesa, a regional group of churches, for weekly prayer meetings.
The summit kindled in him zeal to pray and especially to pray with others in the area where he lives and ministers, Jim said.
He wasn’t sure what to expect when he contacted Christian school administrators and church leaders, asking if they would meet for an hour on Mondays to pray. But he needn’t have worried.
“When the call came out to pray, church and school leaders answered it and really went into prayer,” said Jim, a member of the Navajo Nation who works with Native Americans as a regional ethnic team leader for Christian Reformed Home Missions
The group of church and Christian school leaders meets from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday afternoons. Leaders who can’t attend have been asked to set aside that hour to pray wherever they are; several have agreed to do that.
“I’m excited that we can pray like this. There is something that is precious about prayer,” said Jim, adding that the prayer summit gave him a refreshing new perspective on prayer.
Jim is one of many people whose lives were touched and changed through the prayer summit. Others include a pastor who has begun a time of early-morning prayer in his congregation.
Another pastor showed a video of the prayer summit at his church and found members who were inspired and interested in spending more time in prayer. Still others have turned to personal and contemplative prayer as a way of listening to what God is saying.
The next prayer summit, set for April 2013, will set aside time for people to tell stories of how prayer has touched their lives, said CRHM director Rev. Moses Chung, one the coordinators of the summit.
“We will be asking that some of the stories be told,” said Chung. “They will testify to the righteousness of God that happened through prayer.”
In Red Mesa, people often pray out loud, asking for the Holy Spirit to be there with them. Located mainly in New Mexico, the classis has 15 organized churches and five emerging churches.
“We pray to our God who works wonders,” said Jim. “We are clearing the time so that we can ‘waste time’ together with God.”
They also take time to pray for particular ministries. At one point, Jim and others asked God to bring more people to Red Mesa churches, including Jim’s church, Fort Wingate Christian Reformed Church.
Not long afterward, new people started showing up. Numbering eight in all, including young people, they have shown interest in the church where Jim is one of the ministry leaders.
Although this was a welcome answer to prayer, his church is not putting pressure on the visitors. “Right now, we’re not pushing,” he said. “It is a matter of them getting interested in what we are doing.”
Ministries also have emerged as a result of praying and looking to find things that God wants them to do, including a firewood ministry to help elderly people fuel their homes and a proposal for opening a bicycle shop for the community.
On one occasion, said Jim, he prayed with a young man who was afflicted by evil spirits, helping to ease the man’s difficulties.
Jim says he will talk about the power and significance of prayer when, as regional leader for CRHM, he starts to visit other churches in his region in 2013.
“This is the first time I’ve prayed like this,” he said. “I’ve learned that, if you pray, God will show you some things.”
(Originally published in the Banner magazine, February 2013. Written by Chris Meehan, CRC Communications. For more information, click here.)